We had another post well on the way when this tropical wave thing suddenly seems to have turned into Hurricane Irene. Since this is definitely a very real part of life in the tropics, I thought we'd interrupt our regularly scheduled program about the nice parts of tropical life for a snapshot of the down side.
We were surprised at how quickly this storm developed and we watch these things religiously. Yesterday afternoon I was fooling around in the garage working on my next little DIY project. I was finishing up a set of curtain rod holders made out of wood from Gilley's old bar in Leeward. Suddenly a gust of wind blew through the garage that astonished me. I checked with La Gringa, and the weather station had just recorded a gust of 55 kts. It's was mostly from the north by northeast so the water wasn't getting too stirred up close to the lee shore.
By lunch time today we definitely were feeling the effects of the wind, with bands of intense rain blowing through from time to time. I got caught between the house and the garage during one of these and the rain pellets actually stung my numb skull. That takes some velocity.
Starting late yesterday and through all of this morning we were buttoning up the house. Battening down the hatches. Trying not to step on the dog. Worrying about things we may have forgotten. Is anybody ever really ready for that first hurricane of the season? We know we get complacent and rusty after months of being lulled by friendly trade winds. I took a quick snap of some of the bougainvillea blossoms while we were re-learning the deployment sequence of hurricane shutters. Soon to be gone bougainvillea blossoms, I should have said.
When we batten down, we close these folding aluminum storm shutters over all the sliding glass doors on the house. They start getting noisy above around 60 mph , but do a pretty good job blocking the worst of the wind and rain.
We managed to fit the skiff, the Hobie Tandem Island, and the smaller Defender inside the garage. It's crowded but there's essentially nothing outside except the gas grill, which is pinned between the front bumper of the other Land Rover and a wall. The living room is full of lawn chairs and outdoor chaise lounges.
The other Defender is pulled up into the lee of the house where we can get to the doors from the house without having to expose ourselves to too much weather.
I grabbed a hunk of wood that I'd trimmed off La Gringa's new tortilla squisher and made a quickie GoPro camera mount. I'd changed the tortilladora from rectangular to octagonal, and this meant I had some nice blocks of wood scrap with both 90 and 45 degree angles. Not what I would have designed as a camera mount, but all I had to do was drill one hole for the bolt for the camera and counter sink it. Having both 90 and 45 degree angles is useful for clamping to various structures.
We started by clamping it on the patio wall with a view of the oncoming weather. This would have a good view of the boats in the marina, too. I wonder how good the quality will be in driving rain against the lens, though.
The fallback position is more protected, being on the lee side of the house. This is a lot easier for us to get to if the wind gets really obnoxious.
This is the view as of early afternoon from that corner in the photo above. I am thinking that a time lapse from here would show the palm trees clocking around with the wind as the storm goes by. Maybe a battery's worth of time lapse from each location.
So this isn't our typical sunny, blue water, tropical sunshine post. We've got plenty of those. This blog is supposed to be about our experience living in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hurricanes are a part of the price for the tropical life experience.
If this storm misses us, I won't have much of a Part 2 this time. And that would be totally acceptable to us. We've already had the smashed island experience. I wanted to get an explanatory post up in case we lose power. It's happened for less reason than this.